Sober living homes and halfway houses are two terms commonly thrown around in place of each other. Thanks to a handful of similarities between both, many assume that they mean exactly the same thing. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
While sober living homes and halfway houses both serve as a way to help people gently transition into a more traditional lifestyle and integrate into larger society, there are still several important distinctions that separate one from another.
Below we take a detailed look at what each of these terms really mean, their history, similarities, and differences.
Sober Living Homes & Halfway Houses
Halfway houses are NOT sober living homes. To understand the difference between both, it is important that we first understand what each term means on its own.
Sober Living Home
A sober living home is a transitional housing institution created to help individuals who have just left an addiction or substance abuse rehabilitation program. Reintegrating into larger society after being in a rehabilitative environment, and after years of being an addict, can be greatly challenging.
To make the process a lot less overwhelming, sober living homes act as a transitional space, providing support and a sense of community that ensures that the change is not too sudden, and instead is as smooth as it can possibly be.
History of Sober Living Homes
The concept of sober living homes first came to light in the 1830s. Back then they were referred to as “sober hotels” and they were usually established by or affiliated with religious institutions such as the YMCA.
Consequently, they followed a strict moral and religious code, with most residents having to attend religious ceremonies and services mandatorily.
Nowadays, sober living houses aren’t necessarily religious in nature. In fact, most sober living homes today do not have such a strict religious requirement. Emphasis now is placed on providing support and sometimes therapy to help newly sober individuals acclimatize to their new reality.
Halfway houses are transitional housing institutions created to help individuals who have just been incarcerated reintegrate into society more easily. Thanks to its association with people who have been imprisoned, halfway houses generally have a bad reputation.
Many people look at the term derogatorily because they automatically assume that anyone who is in a halfway house is some kind of violent degenerate. This isn’t always true.
History of Halfway Houses
The history of halfway housing can be traced as far back as 18th century England. At the time, halfway housing was used to house troubled and orphaned children who were predisposed to crime.
This led to the term being used as an umbrella phrase to refer to children that had been outcast from the community. When the concept came to the United States, it was employed a bit more progressively.
Nowadays, halfway houses are used as an intermediary between incarceration facilities and conventional society.
Difference Between Halfway Houses and Sober Living Homes
As we can see from the above definitions, there are significant differences between halfway houses and sober living homes. For starters, sober living homes are created for recovering addicts and newly sober individuals whereas halfway houses are meant for convicts who have been previously incarcerated.
Secondly, sober living homes are always optional. Yes, they are great, and they offer an important opportunity for newly sober individuals to reintegrate into society without getting overwhelmed. But there is no legal or even moral requirement that mandates that anyone who leaves a rehabilitation center must live in a sober living home.
Halfway houses, on the other hand, are sometimes legally required and individuals can even serve out parts of their centers in these institutions.
Similarities Between Halfway Houses and Sober Living Homes
Having highlighted the differences between both terms, it is worth mentioning that there are of course similarities. Both halfway houses and sober living homes help individuals reintegrate into society without jumping into it abruptly.
Both also aim to provide these individuals with as many tools as they need to become better versions of themselves.
Find a Sober Living Community in New Jersey
Are you or a loved one looking for a safe and structured sober living house in New Jersey that is run with absolute integrity? Well, look no further.
At Palisades Properties, we are renowned for our absolute professionalism and attention to detail. We are relentless in our commitment to providing individuals with a peaceful environment where success in recovery is an absolute priority.
Get in touch with us today to learn more and get started.